This year a new EU directive on electronic invoicing (e-invoicing) was implemented, that mandates public sector bodies to be compliant in order to receive and process e-invoices from their suppliers.
The directive came about as a response to difficulties with regard to cross-border trading across Europe, due to individual European Union member states having their own unique e-invoicing regulations and standards. To address these barriers, the European Parliament and Council implemented the directive, calling for the definition of a common European standard on e-invoicing (in terms of formatting/language of the invoice, and the information contained within).
To whom does it apply?
As Ireland’s leading e-invoicing provider, the first question we generally get from public bodies on the directive is “does it apply to me”?
The directive applies to all Irish government agencies, both central and sub-central. Central government agencies had until April 2019 to be compliant. Celtrino were selected by the Office of Government Procurement (OGP) – whose role is to govern the implementation of the directive across Ireland – as the exclusive e-invoicing provider to central government agencies, and we have enabled them to meet their compliance requirements by their deadline date.
Are you a sub-central government agency? Or, more specifically, one of the following?
- – An Educational body: Including universities, ITs, colleges, schools, department agencies
- – A Health body: Including department agencies, hospitals, Section 38 and 39 agencies
- – A Semi-state body or any other agency subject to procurement law
If you fall under one of the above categories then you have until April 2020 to get compliant. Celtrino are the preferred provider to these public bodies and are currently busy setting them up in advance of the deadline.
As well being as being a requirement in accordance with the directive, there are also real business benefits of compliance – from less time spent on manual tasks to much more predictable cash flow. Depending on the level of automation, the net benefits can be savings of between €4 – 12 per invoice (EESPA). It really is so simple and inexpensive to become compliant.
So you’ve acknowledged your obligations, weighed up the benefits and have committed to signing up. However April is seemingly far away. The temptation is to park it and wait until nearer to the deadline to address it.
Like with anything though, it pays to sign up sooner rather than later.
In practicality terms, as an early adopter you become much more attractive to new suppliers, and you can also begin to experience the benefits straight away. What better way to be heading into a new year with compliance sorted, and to be in a position to budget for the full calendar year ahead with all the benefits of e-invoicing adoption in place? Your staff will free up time from dealing with invoice dispute queries and addressing invoice data entry issues, to devote towards other areas.
Approximately 4000 public bodies have to sign up for compliance by April 2020. Similar to how the majority of business commuters will gravitate towards peak-time morning trains, it goes without saying the push for compliance will really take hold in the peak-time of the new year. So beat the rush! Sign up for compliance today, avoid the headaches and hassle, and start achieving real business savings and benefits straight away.